WebMD News Brief

Rising Cases Sparks More Face Mask Requirements

woman in face mask

June 29, 2020 -- As coronavirus cases keep spiking across the nation, Nevada has become the most recent state to make face masks mandatory in public places -- even in casinos on the Las Vegas strip.

The order went into effect Friday and says masks should be worn when social distancing is not possible. Many people in the service industry supported the decision and the phrase, “No shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service,” spread across social media.

“I don’t know why or when protecting our health and our neighbors’ lives became a political, partisan or even philosophical decision,” Gov. Steve Sisolak said in a tweet announcing the proclamation. “For me it’s none of those. It’s a medical necessity, a human obligation and it’s good for business.”

Nevada has reported almost 15,000 cases and 495 deaths, but the number of new cases is rising, a fact Sisolak attributes partly to people not wearing masks.

CNN reports that 17 states have ordered people to wear face masks in public statewide, but that list didn’t include Washington state, where a face mask order went into effect Friday.

In announcing the order, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said, "I think of these face coverings, in some sense, as a statement. It's a statement that when you wear it, it means you care about people, because it means you want to reduce the risk that you are going to infect another person."

Almost all health experts now agree face masks help to curb the coronavirus, which is often spread through droplets coming out of a person’s mouth. But masks have not always been endorsed. The CDC didn’t recommend face masks in public until April. The World Health Organization waited until early June to endorse face masks.

In other news about face masks:

Former Vice President Joe Biden would “insist” on masks. President Donald Trump’s likely opponent in the general election said Thursday that he’d use the executive power of the presidency to encourage people to wear masks.

"I would go back to making sure that everybody had masks," Joe Biden said while wearing a mask in an interview with a Pittsburgh TV station, reported CBS News. 

"The one thing we do know is that these masks make a gigantic difference. I would insist that everybody in public be wearing masks," Biden said. "I would do everything possible to make it required that people have to wear masks in public."

Unlike Biden, Trump refuses to wear a face mask in public. Trump has also held two indoor rallies recently, in Oklahoma and Arizona. Biden said he would not be holding indoor rallies for the time being.

Charleston, SC, approves mask policy. Starting July 1, people in this coastal city will be required to wear masks while indoor in public places and while interacting with people outdoors when social distancing is not possible, the Post and Courier newspaper reported. People eating, drinking, or smoking are exempted.

COVID-19 cases are climbing across the state, which opened up its economy earlier than most states. Charleston, which has a tourist-reliant economy, is one of the hardest-hit locations.

On Wednesday, Gov. Henry McMaster urged South Carolinians to start wearing masks, though he refuses to issue a statewide order, the newspaper said. McMaster also said he wouldn’t slow down the economic reopening of the state in an effort to curb COVID-19 cases.

University of Oklahoma to require masks. When students return to university campuses for fall classes, they’ll be required to wear masks inside school buildings and outside on the campus when social distancing is impossible, TV station KOCO reported. The same rule will apply to employees and visitors.

“Our return to in-person operations as a university community does not mean a return to normal,” the university’s chief COVID officer, Dale W. Bratzler, said in a letter. “It does mean adjusting our practices.”

The chief COVID officer will determine masking requirements for special events and athletic sporting events, with the decision based on location and size of event and current COVID-19 data.

COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma have spiked in recent weeks, with 438 cases reported on Thursday, according to the state health department. The state has reported almost 12,000 cases and 375 deaths.

WebMD Health News Brief Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on June 29, 2020

Sources

Nevada governor’s webpage. DECLARATION OF EMERGENCY DIRECTIVE 024

CNN. “These are the states requiring people to wear masks when out in public”

CBS News. “Biden says he'd use executive powers to force Americans to wear masks in public”

The Post-Courier. “Charleston votes to require masks as county leads SC in new coronavirus cases”

The Post-Courier. “McMaster urges wearing masks as SC coronavirus cases climb, but he won’t close businesses”

KOCO. "University of Oklahoma makes masks mandatory across all three campuses"

Oklahoma state government. “Oklahoma Covid-19 Resources”

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